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US rethinking Putin summit after Snowden move

Agencies | Updated: 2013-08-02 07:20


Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat who is a strong Obama ally, urged the president to retaliate by recommending that the G20 summit be moved out of Russia.

"Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife," Schumer said. "Given Russia's decision today, the president should recommend moving the G20 summit."

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, already sharp critics of Putin, called the Russian action a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States.

"It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin's Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today's action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions," McCain and Graham said in a statement.

The two Republicans said the United States should retaliate boldly by, for example, pushing for completion of all missile-defense programs in Europe and moving for another expansion of NATO to include Russian neighbor Georgia.

"We have long needed to take a more realistic approach to our relations with Russia, and hopefully today we finally start," they said.

Whether such steps were in the offing was unclear. Carney defended the "reset" in relations with Russia, saying it has proved beneficial on a host of issues, from cooperation on Afghanistan to dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, faces US criminal charges including espionage, theft of government property and unauthorized communication of national defense information.

The 30-year-old slipped quietly out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Thursday after being granted a year's asylum in Russia, ending more than five weeks in limbo in the transit area.

There is a long list of US differences with Russia on other issues, led by Russia's support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war even as the United States calls for his departure.

Andrew Weiss, who was a Russia expert on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, said he did not think the Obama administration would make a decision on Obama's planned trip to Russia until at least next week, after the Russian foreign and defense ministers visit Washington.

The Kerry and Hagel talks are supposed to cover arms control, missile defense, Iran and Syria.

"If the Russians, at those talks, demonstrate a dramatic change in their positions, it's conceivable the (Moscow) trip will still go ahead. I think that's exceedingly unlikely based on everything that's happened in the past couple of months, where the Russians are not looking to be terribly collaborative with the United States on those issues," Weiss said.  

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